I’ve never done a sugar detox (and I’m not going to start now). So why the title? Follow along and find out…
Honestly, I haven’t tried a “fad” diet in a long time. I call anything with a special name a fad diet. When I was younger (teens and early 20’s) I tried all sorts of special diets to keep me aware of what I was eating and as a bit of “fun”. I remember the most UNHEALTHY diet I tried was a ladder program. Essentially you ate 200 (yes 200) calories on day one. Then 400 on day two, and it progressed to 600, 800, 1000, then back down through 600 and 400, starting over again at 200 if desired. I remember not so fondly the days of living off pickles and celery sticks. It was “advised” to only do this diet for one week at a time. Really? I can’t imagine why! Another fad diet was some version of the cabbage soup diet. I think I’m the only person who followed it, but managed to gain weight! Looking at it now, I can only imagine it was due to food allergies an my system going haywire.
I am the first person to admit I have bad eating habits. Weekends are often met with headaches or lethargy when I “forget” to eat because I don’t have hunger cues. During the week, without careful planning and upon emotional cues I will hit up various fast food or other restaurants. Now, I will share I’ve become MUCH better at what I chose when on-the-go. I’ve stopped getting meals and will only order a $1 menu sandwich to tide me over until I get to real food. Let’s break it down …
I LOVE Wendy’s (their food NOT their commercials) so I can easily provide a concrete example of my “healthier choice” claims.
Normally when I went to Wendy’s I would order a Chicken meal or Hamburger meal. I would also upsize it for the fries and I’d order a bottle of water.
Home-style Chicken Meal : 510 calories + 20 g of fat (sandwich) + 410 calories + 20 g of fat (fries) + water = 920 calories and 40 g of fat!
Crispy Chicken Sandwich only: 380 calories + 20 g of fat.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich only: 370 calories + 7 g of fat
What about red meat?
1/4 pound Single Meal : 580 calories + 31 g of fat (sandwich) + 410 calories + 20 g of fat (fries) + water = 990 calories and 51 g of fat!
Junior Cheeseburger only: 290 calories + 13 g of fat.
Another moment of truth. I didn’t know those facts until I looked them up for this post. It really bothers me to know with the read meat, I’m looking at an almost 40 gram difference in fat. Oh and 600 calories. WOW The things I could eat for 600 calories. The chicken isn’t much further off of a different. Yikes.
Knowing numbers is important for decision making, but I don’t want to feel like a slave to the facts & figures…
I hate feeling like everything I do/eat is connected to some magic number. Everyone raves about different trackers and online journaling, but those have always lead me to a dark place. Over the years I’ve adapted to CardioTrainer on my phone and I’m having a strong love affair with FitBit right now, but let me explain what usually happens.
As I use fitness trackers I become obsessed with the numbers. I find running, Zumba, or even walking will allow me to get a certain number of “steps” or calories. Yoga or Pilates doesn’t translate into as many steps or calories. When I want to compete against myself or others I go for the higher intensity workouts and reduce my strength training or weights because they aren’t as “fancy” on the tracker. This leads to poor form and injury.
Same with food tracking. I become so focused on the numbers I stop eating a variety of foods. I stop considering how the food will benefit me in the long run and start wondering it it will fit into the perfect image created by the tracker. Even when I set profiles to private, I see the number on my screen and I compete with myself.
So what to do when you (I) realize even with every excuse in the book, some of the choices I keep making have to change.
It means I have made it to another attempt at getting healthier in 2014. I managed to stay active for at least 30 minutes everyday in January. Sundays and Wednesday are the most difficult for me so they’re my built in “rest” days. Even rest days can have 30 minutes of movement though, right? I’m so proud of myself and others for the #30in31 challenge. As I’ve mentioned before…I am sleeping better and feeling better and have finally gained back a chunk of endurance, things I thought were long lost to me.
Now to tackle food choices. I can’t (won’t) give up sugar (currently) and it scares me to consider going on a 30 day or even 2 week pledge to avoid it. This is my plan instead. I will reduce my sugar and start paying attention to ALL food choices. I lost weight last fall and one thing I was doing differently? Keeping up with ‘The Worst Book Ever’. I carried a small lined notebook around and I logged all my food choices. I did not log any facts about the food or sizes, I simply logged what I ate. For example:
B: Oatmeal w/ brown sugar and blueberries
L: Tuna sandwich and cherry coke
S: 3 mini candy bars
D: Mac & Cheese
At the end of the week I would make + or – signs next to the days I felt were healthy days or not-so-healthy days. Then I’d plan for the next week. Maybe I would plan to eat less pasta, maybe I would plan to buy more apples for snacks. I adjusted as I went along.
Starting this week I am making an honest attempt to not eat “extra” sugar. I will stop buying and eating the supplies of tootsie rolls, cow tails, M&Ms, and Crunch bars. If I want something sweet I will eat fruit. I will drink more water. I will power through feeling like crap. The weekends are fair game. In the past this has worked for me. 5 days of strict, 2 days of whatever. Let’s see how it works in 2014.